Mikerlange Barthelemy (27) was born and raised in Haïti. Eleven years ago, the fitness trainer left his home country to move to Wellington, Florida. A few riders started training with him and that is how he got more and more involved in the equestrian community. Today, Mikerlange is one of the most, if not the most sought-after fitness trainer in Florida. Riders like Dani Goldstein, Eugenio Garza, Nayal Nassar, Robert Dover, and Matt Williams have already put their fitness in the hands of Mikerlange Barthelemy.
Barthelemy used to be an athlete himself before his leg got injured. It took almost a year for the leg to fully heal and one and a half years for him to get back in shape. ‘At that point, fitness was where I was finding my peace’, he says. And so his passion for fitness begins. ‘I started working at this gym in Wellington as a trainer manager. I set clients up with trainers and help them train as well but every time I helped them train or gave them a free workout, they ended up wanting to train with me. Eventually, I had no option but to train them’, he says with a smile. After four or five years of training these people, often for free, Barthelemy became an important part of team USA.
A riders body
Every sport requires different things from one’s body. Barthelemy knows exactly what a rider’s body needs to perform at its best. ‘Flexibility on and off the horse, and a rider’s diagonal is what I mainly focus on. A strong core, a good form, and good balance are key when you’re riding a thousand-pound animal’, he says. ‘I don’t train them the same, every day, six days a week. Every day I try to better them in a different way.’
We often hear people say, ‘horseback riding is not a sport, the horse does everything for the rider’. To those people Barthelemy says: ‘People that think riding is not a sport don’t know the amount of effort riders put in. Look at Kent Ferrington, he is probably the Lebron James of show jumping. A rider’s fitness translates in their performances, which is the same for any other athlete.’
Usually, Barthelemy trains these riders at his facility but he also joins them to shows sometimes. Due to covid, this has become a bit of a challenge that he needed to adapt to. ‘Right now, I try to do a lot of virtual, online training to help my clients stay in shape during these covid times.’
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Mind over body
‘Taking care of my body, being an athlete, and working with professional athletes has taught me a lot over the years on how mental strength controls everything. If your mental strength is not there, you can’t expect your physical strength to be there either. Working out brings that mental toughness. I’ve been there too. Back when I wasn’t able to work out, my mind wasn’t in a good place. Mental toughness will help you get a strong body, but a strong body will also make you feel stronger mentally.’
‘The goal is to be with my clients for the Olympics, help them become the best version of themselves, and hopefully see them succeed. It’s an honor to be part of their story and I want the best for all of them.
A quote that Mikerlange Barthelemy lives by: You are who you surround yourself with. So, surround yourself with people that bring good energy, whoever that may be.